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Evaluate Sources - Text Version

Evaluate Sources

Evaluating Sources


Who?             Who wrote the information?

  • Are they an expert in the field they’re writing about?
  • Are they someone who might be biased?

When?           When was it published?

  • How old is the information?
  • Could this be outdated? Know important dates related to your topic.

Where?         Where was it published?

  • Does it appear in a scholarly journal?
  • Is the publisher or sponsor a reputable source?

What?            What is the information really about?

  • What is the main argument?
  • Is the information relevant to your topic?

Why?             Why did they write information?

  • Are they trying to persuade you of a point, sell you something, or present objective information? Watch for bias.
  • Who is the intended audience?

How?             How did they get their information?

  • Do they cite their sources?
  • Are the sources they used credible?

These factors may not apply to every situation equally. For example: an older scholarly journal article may not be appropriate for a paper on current controversies, but it could be relevant to a historical approach to the topic. Use your best judgment, and ask a librarian if you’re sure about a source.  



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